December 18, 2020
The First Step to Smiling Without Fear
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“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Proverbs 31:10 (NIV)
It’s as though the worn-out piece of wood can tell the future. Years of use have literally left their mark on the old stick, and each time it appears, anticipation swirls in the hearts of my little people.
During the days of my husband Luke’s youth, as he and his siblings grew in age and size, Luke’s mom used a wooden board as a measuring stick. Year after year, Luke and his brothers and sister would scoot their heels all the way to the wall, stretch their necks and wait anxiously to see the new line that marked how much they had grown.
Now, decades later, my children like to measure themselves on this same old piece of wood. Mostly because my husband and his brothers now stand over 6 feet tall … and possibly because two of them played more than 10 years of professional football. So when my boys scoot their heels all the way to the wall and stretch their necks, they wait anxiously to find out if their line today matches the line of their daddy or uncles all those years ago. Because if it does, then their dreams of being tall or perhaps even of being a professional athlete seem more likely to come true.
We all have a tool by which we measure ourselves — that one person or thing that makes us believe what we’ve done, how we look or how we live is a success or a failure. But today’s key verse shows us another place to find our value.
I don’t willingly bring up grade school math class, but for a minute, let’s go back there. Do you remember the “greater than” and “less than” symbols (> and <)? They are used for comparing numbers and expressions. They show when something is more than or less than something else. For example, 10 is more than 2, so we write 10 > 2. Whew! Glad that’s over.
Proverbs 31:10 also makes a comparison: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Did you catch the comparison? Based on our math lesson, it’s saying, her worth > rubies. It actually says her worth is far more than rubies, but I don’t think we have a sign for that.
While this comparison may have been shaped by a mother seeking to guide her son, the life of Jesus answers any questions we have about our value to God.
By faith in Jesus, God extends to us the right to freely receive His grace and become coheirs to His Kingdom. (Titus 3:7) Because of Christ, your value does not have to be defined by your place on the corporate ladder, the number of likes on your social media posts or the cleanliness of your kitchen counter.
When we look around at anyone or anything else to determine whether we measure up, we will live exhausted, confused and afraid — constantly adjusting our efforts to match what we see around us and hoping we don’t take a wrong turn that proves disastrous.
But when we truly believe that Jesus has defeated death and sin once and for all, we can trade the chains of performance-based acceptance for the free gift of God’s grace … and take the first step to smiling without fear of the future.
Dear God, I’m tired of trying to measure up and keep up with the ever-changing value system of the world. Help me understand Your grace in a new way today.In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Matthew 6:25a, 26, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life … Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (ESV)
Katy McCown’s new Bible study, She Smiles Without Fear: Proverbs 31 for Every Woman, walks you through a step-by-step process to help you look forward to the future with joy. Preorder your copy now, and start reading Day 1 of the study immediately!
Katy would love to give you 7 Prayers to Help You Smile Without Fear. Stop by her website today to receive this free resource.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In what ways do you compare yourself with others?
What is one thing you can do today to turn your attention away from the measuring sticks of the world and focus on God’s grace to you and love for you? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2020 by Katy McCown. All rights reserved.